By Froi Garces
SAYING he was not informed of the change in the military leadership, retired Defense officer-in-charge Jose Faustino Jr. quit his post last Friday.
Under the organization setup of the DND, the defense secretary has direct supervision over the Armed Forces.
Following Faustino’s resignation, eight other DND high-ranking officials tendered their courtesy resignations, too.
Faustino: I learned of new AFP CS from media
In a statement, Faustino said he tendered his “irrevocable letter of resignation to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. after learning from news and social media reports that an oath of office of the new Chief of Staff, AFP had taken place at Malacañang.”
Faustino was referring to President Marcos’ announcement Friday night that erstwhile AFP chief, Lt. Gen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro has been replaced by Gen. Andres Centino Jr. as the new military commander.
No immediate explanation was made by Malacañang, fueling speculations of discontent from among military officials affected by the sudden change.
What’s driving the news
Bacarro, who served only for five months, was the first appointee of the President as AFP chief, replacing Centino in August last year.
As such, Bacarro was supposed to have a fixed term of three years based on Republic Act 1179 which took effect in July last year. The new law extends the mandatory retirement age as well as prescribes fixed terms for key officers unless terminated by the president.
Faustino did not show up at the change of command ceremony on Saturday when Centino was formally re-installed as military chief.
This fueled rumors that he had resigned along with key defense officials after resenting the sudden change in the military top brass.
Faustino’s 8 deputies resign, too
On Monday, Defense spokesperson Arsenio Andolong confirmed that Faustino yielded the defense top post to former AFP chief Carlito Galvez Jr.
Andolong said Faustino’s team composed of four other undersecretaries and four assistant secretaries have also tendered their courtesy resignations.
Why Faustino resigned
Sources said Faustino resented the sudden relief of Bacarro and the re-instatement of Centino, who are both his classmates at the military academy.
“Centino should have not accepted the post for delicadeza,” said the source, who has prior knowledge of the change in the military leadership.
Finally breaking his silence, Faustino issued a strongly worded statement on Tuesday, hinting that the military is being politicized.
“Through the years, the AFP has metamorphosed into an institution that the Filipino people can truly be proud of. Admittedly, it has had its own share of life’s ups and downs, but nonetheless, it genuinely strives hard to earn and deserve the trust, respect and confidence of our people and allies. It has undeniably proven its mettle over the decades. It is a highly disciplined and competent organization that will survive under any given circumstance. Thus, fully cognizant of the selfless sacrifice and courage of our troops and civilian human resources, I cannot allow the AFP’s reputation to be tarnished, maligned, or politicized,” he said.
“I wish nothing but the best for our country, our people, and our President. It was an honor to have had the opportunity to serve the Filipino people in my former capacity as officer-in-charge of the DND. With all humility, I am grateful and deeply indebted to each and every one of you who helped us fulfill our mandate in the Defense Department over these past months,” he added.
banner photo courtesy Department of National Defense